How to Pick a Medical Assistant School Program near Auburn Maine
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Auburn ME, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is ensure that the Auburn ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Maine law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Auburn ME health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Auburn ME area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Auburn ME medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Auburn ME with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Auburn ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Auburn ME area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Auburn health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Auburn ME area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Auburn ME, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Auburn Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Auburn ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Auburn is a city in and the county seat of Androscoggin County, Maine, United States. The population was 23,055 at the 2010 census. Auburn and Lewiston (directly across the Androscoggin River from each other) are known locally as the Twin Cities or Lewiston–Auburn (L–A).
The area was originally part of the Pejepscot Purchase, land bought in 1714 by an association of people from Boston and Portsmouth following the Treaty of Portsmouth, which brought peace between the Abenaki Indians and the settlers of present-day Maine. In 1736, however, the Massachusetts General Court granted a large section of the land to veterans of the 1690 Battle of Quebec. Conflicting claims led to prolonged litigation; consequently, settlement was delayed until after the French and Indian Wars.
Auburn was first settled in 1786 as part of Bakerstown, renamed Poland when it was incorporated by the Massachusetts General Court in 1795. It was then part of Minot, formed from parts of Poland and incorporated in 1802. Auburn would itself be formed from parts of Minot and incorporated on February 24, 1842. The name was apparently inspired by "Auburn", a village (real or fictitious) featured in the 1770 poem "The Deserted Village" by Oliver Goldsmith. Originally part of Cumberland County, the town became county seat of Androscoggin County at its creation in 1854. By annexing land from towns around it, including part of Poland in 1852, Minot in 1873, and all of Danville (first called Pejepscot) in 1867, Auburn grew geographically into one of Maine's largest municipalities. Incorporated a city on February 22, 1869, Auburn in 1917 would be the first city in the state to adopt a council-manager form of government.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Training Auburn ME
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Program. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Auburn ME.
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